Why Vets Don’t Recognize Vaccine Reactions

Written by Jan on December 17, 2011 – 1:01 am

You take your perfectly healthy dog to the vet for “her shots.”  Early the next morning, she has a seizure — her first seizure ever.  You rush your dog back to the vet or an emergency clinic and ask if the seizure had something to do with the shot.  Odds are, the vet will tell you, No, it’s not the shot! She might a genetic disorder or possibly even a brain tumor. The timing is just a coincidence.

Or … your dog is suddenly having trouble walking after rabies vaccination. Or he suddenly becomes aggressive.  You ask your vet if the condition could be tied to the rabies shot.  No, it’s not possible, the vet says. He says has never heard of such a thing. But something tells you the condition and vaccine are related.

Of course, not all veterinarians are reluctant or unable to recognize and deal with vaccine reactions. In fact, the practices of vets trained in homeopathy, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, etc. often revolve around treating reactions caused by vaccination.  And, happily, many conventional vets are becoming increasingly worried about over-vaccination and vaccine reactions. But these vets are not the norm.

Many people have written me that they have had to fight with their vet to even get a vaccine reaction considered and noted in their dog’s or cat’s file.  The vet doesn’t even want to call the vaccine maker to report or inquire about the reaction.  After you do extensive Internet research, your suspicions grow. You see another vet, or maybe post on this blog looking for answers or you e-mail me. You wonder: why are vets so reluctant to admit that a vaccine (or vaccine combo) caused a reaction?  Here are some potential reasons why.

Primary vets don’t see every vaccine reactions because pets are often treated at emergency clinics or by specialists and not reported back.  An emergency clinic vet told me about a Basset Hound she had diagnosed with immune-mediated thrombocytopenia. She asked the client if the dog had been recently vaccinated.  Finding that he had, she called the Basset’s primary vet to inquire about the vaccine.  The primary vet, surprised by the call,  asked, “Do you see a lot of immune-mediated disease after vaccination?”  She told him she did, usually about 3-4 weeks later.  Astounded by the news, he admitted he was glad he hadn’t vaccinated his own dogs in 8 years.  He continues to vaccinate clients’ dogs annually.

Vets lack sufficient education.  Dr. Ronald Schultz, a member of the AAHA Canine Vaccination Task Force (in 2003, 2006 and 2011) and the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group, has said: “Our new [vet school] grads don’t know a heck of a lot more about vaccines than our older grads. And I’ve figured out why this is. They know a lot more about basic immunology, but they don’t know about vaccinology and the two are not the same.…  So we haven’t gone very far from where we were ten years ago or twenty years ago with regard to training veterinarians about vaccines.” (Hear Dr. Schultz talking about this in our Safer Pet Vaccination Benefit Seminar DVD. )

Most continuing education is done by drug company representatives calling on veterinary practices — to sell vaccines.  Their message is that vaccines are safe and reactions are extremely rare.  Vets buy the products and the message. Despite studies showing that each additional vaccine given during one visit dramatically increases the chance of an adverse reaction, reps peddle products with as many as 7 vaccines to be given at once — with no warnings.  Hear safety claims enough and the claims become the truth, whether they are true or not.

Vets don’t want the blame for harming your pet.  No veterinarian wants to harm an animal.  It’s more comfortable to blame the problem on coincidence, genetic defects, other medications, etc.

Vets don’t tie the reaction to the vaccine unless it happens almost immediately.  Here is what the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) tells dog or cat owners to watch for after vaccination. Note that most reactions listed are only those happening almost immediately:

Discomfort and swelling at the vaccination site
Mild fever
Decreased appetite and activity
Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
Swelling of the muzzle. face, neck or eyes
Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
Respiratory distress occurring 2-5 days after your pet receives an intranasal Bordetella [kennel cough vaccine]

This list fails to include reactions like shock and death — 8.3% and 5.5% respectively of reactions reported to the USDA.  It also doesn’t include vaccine reactions happening within three or more days after vaccination — despite a major study published in the AVMA’s own Journal in 2005.  And what about reactions occurring weeks, months and even years after vaccination?

Here is the list first handed out in 2007 by Dr. Ron Schultz regarding adverse events known to be induced via vaccines:

Common Reactions:
Hair loss; hair color change at injection site
Refusal to Eat
Oral ulcers
Moderate Reactions:
Behavioral Changes
Weight Loss (Cachexia)
Reduced Milk Production
Facial Edema
Atopy [allergic hypersensitivity]
Respiratory Disease
Allergic uveitis (Blue Eye)
Severe Reactions Triggered by Vaccines:
Vaccine injection site sarcomas
Anaphylaxis [life-threatening shock]
Arthritis, polyarthritis-HOD hypertrophy Osteodystrophy
Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia
Immune Mediated thrombocytopenia (IMTP)
Hemolytic Disease of the newborn (Neonatal Isoerythrolysis)
Disease or Enhanced Disease which with the vaccine was designed to prevent
Myocarditis [inflammation of the heart muscle caused by infections, viruses, or immune diseases]
Post vaccinal Encephalitis or polyneuritis
Abortion, congenital anomalies, embryonic/fetal death, failure to conceive fertility

Vaccine manufacturers generally test vaccines for reactions for only one year, with the exception of the 3-year rabies vaccine. Testing is expensive so they do only what is required to get approval. After approval, vets seldom report reactions and the USDA rarely takes action unless an inordinate of animals become seriously ill or die. Even then, vaccines are rarely pulled off the market unless they affect human health. Thus, vaccines are considered safe and reactions don’t really happen!!!

Vets may worry that they did something wrong.  Did your vet fail to tell you about possible reactions? Did he/she vaccinate an unhealthy dog against vaccine label warnings?  Was the vaccine given less than two weeks after another vaccine, increasing the likelihood of a reaction?  Or given with multiple other vaccines or medications? Or given without examining the dog or cat first? Or was the wrong vaccine used? Or had the vaccine been improperly refrigerated? 

Vets aren’t taught how to treat many of the reactions.  Conventional vets generally treat vaccine reactions with corticosteroids, antibiotics (just in case they’re needed) and/or Benadryl no matter what the reaction is.  Conversely, holistic vets  treat reactions with diet, supplements, acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy and a whole bag of tricks.  You have to “believe” in reactions to want to learn how to treat them.

Vets worry they failed to get your “informed consent” before vaccination.  Informed consent means that the vet should have told you about possible reactions and also explained why the shot was necessary before vaccinating.  Unfortunately, the great majority of revaccination of adult dogs is unnecessary and never explained. (See Vaccinating Dogs: 10 Steps to Eliminating Unnecessary Shots.)  If your dog had a vaccine that wasn’t needed and then suffered a reaction, your vet might worry about a lawsuit or reprimand from state authorities — or unwanted attention from the media.

Vets don’t want to lose your business.  

Vets don’t want to bother reporting the reaction to the vaccine maker.  Despite repeated requests by veterinary organizations to report all suspected reactions, it is suspected that only 1% are reported.  Reporting is time consuming.  

Vets are told by superiors not to admit responsibility.  This can be a particular problem for junior members of a practice operating under the rules of the senior partners or practice owner.

Vets have to believe vaccines are safe.  Vaccines are a big part of veterinary business, both for the direct income derived from vaccines and the office visit, but also for income from medications and other sales and services stemming from the visit — and also for income derived from treating reactions.  If they see reaction after reaction, particularly from unnecessary vaccination, they may feel the need to change their policies or change jobs. Please read Lifelong Immunity – Why Vets Are Pushing Back for more details on why veterinarians continue to over-vaccinate.

No matter why your vet isn’t at least considering a vaccine reaction, when something adverse happens after vaccination, it is important to educate yourself.  Allow only those vaccines required given your dog’s age, locale and lifestyle.  Ask to read the package insert to learn about what reactions are possible. (Don’t presume the vet has read it.) Learn to recognize a vaccine reaction when you see one and push your vet to consider a reaction if you suspect one. And read What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction for help in treating your dog, reporting the problem and contacting the manufacturer to try to recover your expenses. 

There’s an old medical adage: when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.  That is, when something bad happens to your dog after vaccination, think vaccine reaction, not brain tumor! Trust your instincts!

Related links:
Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure
Post your dog’s rabies reaction and read other readers’ stories here: The Rabies Vaccine and Your Dog: Side Effects
Protecting Dogs From Vaccine Reactions
Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely


Tags: bad reactions to shots, cat, dog, rabies shot reaction, Vaccination, vaccine reactions, vets
Posted under Uncategorized, Vaccination, Vaccine Reactions, Veterinarians | 47 Comments » Email This Post

47 Comments to “Why Vets Don’t Recognize Vaccine Reactions”

  1. Tom Johnson Says:

    I have read every word on this web page with the greatest of interest. However, I have never seen an answer to my situation ever written. Would you be so kind as to reply to it?

    My wife and I are retired, in a country setting, away from other animals and cities.
    We want to get a dog for company, and just to have a little noise back in the house. No kids, no other pets. Dog will be an indoor pet, only going outside for daily walks, excercise, and potty breaks.

    What if any, shots or medications should we even consider giving to a new pet under these conditions?
    What is your opinion of the shots available through the local Tractor Supply Stores? Are these really safe being adminstered by inexperienced pet owners?

    Thank you for a wonderful web site, I check it every day!

  2. Carolyn in Belize Says:

    The vet that gave my dog her last rabies vaccination denies to this day, that the lump that appeared an inch or so from the injection site about 10 days later could not possibly be related to the rabies vaccination. She grew angry with me for suggesting such a thing. With a lot of research — and thanks to Jan’s book and this site — I was able to get two other vets to confirm that yes, my dog’s reaction was almost certainly due to the rabies vaccine and it would be dangerous to have another. Luckily, after 6 mos. the lump resolved on its own but it “scared me poopless” and I have not had my dog re-vaccinated since. It’s been 4 years and her titers continue to remain high.

  3. Jan Says:

    Hi Tom. The shots you give depend on the age of your dog and where you get him/her. Puppies need some shots, but most adult dogs don’t.

    For adult dogs, read Vaccinating Dogs: 10 Steps to Eliminating Unnecessary Shots at https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2009/04/22/no-unnecessary-dog-shots/ Also read about blood antibody titer testing: https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2008/10/22/titer-test/

    If you get a dog from a shelter, it will already have had more shots than it needs.

    For a puppy, try http://www.dogs4dogs.com/puppy-shots for advice from an expert. Or watch the terrific four part videos at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1Xd5ghnlJ4

    Re meds from a suppy store, the problem is that dogs sometimes have reactions to vaccines. You need a vet around just in case. Don’t give one of the combination vaccines, or at least don’t give one with more than 3 or 4 ingredients. They are particularly dangerous. You might check out all the possible reactions listed in my article at https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2011/12/17/why-vets-dont-recognize-vaccine-reactions/ Also read https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2009/10/08/protecting-dogs-from-vaccine-reactions/

    Important: a rabies vaccine must be given by a licensed vet or it is not a “legal” vaccine and your dog will have to be revaccinated. This is a very dangerous vaccine to give more than needed.

    I hope this helps.

  4. Wendy Says:

    It’s not that vet’s don’t know, they make money from owners coming in yearly for those shots. They would lose a guaranteed income if pet parents only came in when they needed to.

  5. Addison Says:

    I have a 3.4 pound chihuahua along with a beagle mix and boxer dane mix. I recently stopped taking our dogs to the local vet after a misdiagnosis of heart worms. The vetdiagnosed her with heart worms but refused to take payments by installments then two months later said he checked her out again and “the heart worms just dissapeared on their own”. This doesn’t seem possible and we felt that he was taking advantage of us so we stopped taking them to that vet and instead started having them vaccinated by Vangaurd – moblie pet care. I got them the packaged vaccines (which I just read is bad for them) and had their blood work checked for heart worms. They were all clear. I also got them the chewable heart worm preventative tablets because shots were not available. All of the dogs are healthy and active but only the two larger dogs take their monthly heart worm pill without a problem.

    I’ve tried 2 different brands of heart worm pills with my chihuahua and I litterly have to slide it down her throat. I cut it in half to make sure she doesn’t choke. With in the past two months she has been regurgitating the pill. So she basically has gone with out her heart worm prevention for 2 months now. Like I said before, she is only 3.4 pounds and her pill says it treats up to 25 pounds. I am concerned that she is vomiting because she is being over medicated.

    I want to take her a different vet but I’m also concerned about which vaccines would be best for my dogs and which would not.

  6. Jan Says:

    Addison, I fear you are a victim of heartworm misinformation, much of it promoted by vets and medication makers. Please read https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/category/pet-meds/heartworms/ The “misdiagnosis” may have been due to inaccurate tests or the dog’s immune system may have cleared the worms. The bigger question is: does your dog need the medication at all? It depends on the time of year, where you live, and your dog’s lifestyle.

    Re shots: I also want you to read https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2009/04/22/no-unnecessary-dog-shots/ Why is your adult dog getting puppy shots? You didn’t say how old your dog is. Also, small dogs are prone to adverse reactions, especially when they get more than one vaccine at a time.

    These are both extremely important issues. Please read the articles and write again if you need more help.

  7. Chris Hedberg Says:

    I may have missed this. In the past I have questioned giving my 2 lb. papillon puppies the same amount/volume of vaccine that is given to a 50 lb. Great Dane puppy of the same age. I was told that the recommendation is that every vaccine given be the full amount, not a portion. Can you address this issue?

  8. Jan Says:

    Chris, two of the top experts, speaking at my Safer Pet Vaccination Benefit Seminar, disagreed about dosage. Dr. Ron Schultz believes all dogs need the same dose. Dr. Jean Dodds gives much smaller doses to small dogs, except for the rabies vaccine which must, by law, be a given dose.

    There are two articles I urge you to read. 1) About the dangers of vaccinating small dogs. http://search.aol.com/aol/search?query=ozone+and+dog&s_it=keyword_rollover 2) About why your dog, if he/she has been vaccinated after 15 or so weeks of age, may not need any more vaccinations. http://search.aol.com/aol/search?query=ozone+and+dog&s_it=keyword_rollover

  9. Susan Alexander Says:

    My beautiful 13 year-old Golden Retriever died of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, as a result of a reaction to the mixture of his vaccines and his colitis medication. At first, the vet said he was just getting old but a neurologist figured out what had happened. He couldn’t save him, but he, at least, could give me an answer. What a nightmare it was.

  10. Jan Says:

    Susan, I’m so sorry for your loss and the extra heartache of having to search for the cause. It happens to too many of us.

  11. Darlene Says:

    Hello miss Jan,

    Please share a link or tell me which homeopathic remedies would be good to give my pup.

    1-had his 3rd set of shots 3/13 (at 15 weeks old) & rabies vac.
    2-he was fine 3/13, but tired 3/15, and lethargic today (3/16)
    3-he is an Anatolian Shepherd and has doubled his weight every 4 weeks since birth (now 40 pounds)

    I use homeopathy for my family and have so remedies on hand. Would I use the same for my pup as for humans? I reckon so.

    Thank you for all of your work and for responding to the comments.


  12. Jan Says:

    Hi Darlene. Your dog had way too many vaccines at once. No wonder he/she is tired. You’re lucky that’s all.

    The two main remedies are thuja (thuya) for most vaccines and Lyssin (a nosode) for rabies. But as you know, symptoms rule what remedies are used. Please do research first or you could do more harm than good.

    When you get your next shot notice, please do a titer test instead. But wait at least 2-3 weeks from now. Please read these articles: https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2009/04/22/no-unnecessary-dog-shots/ and https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2008/10/22/titer-test/

    Also check out https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2010/12/02/what-to-do-when-your-dog-has-a-vaccine-reaction/ (skipping the beginning).

    Good luck.

  13. Sandy Says:

    WOW after reading through all of this I am sure that all of my dog’s issues come as a result of her rabies/bordatella vaccines (bordatella was a nasal application). She is an almost 11 year old cock a poo (about 20lbs) With her first rabies shot (May 2003, Da2pl +CPD+Rabies annual) she had a reaction vomitting, so the second shot (2 years later, June 2005 Da2pp + Rabies/No Lepto) she was given benedryl with it to reduce the reaction. Her third set of vaccines 18 months later (Dec 2006,Da2pp-Rabies + Bordatello nasal)

    Less than a week later, while staying with neighbours as we were away on holiday, she was vomitting and had diarrhea. The neighbours were very concerned and took her to the vet who then sent her to an emergency hospital, whe was hospitalized for almost 24 hours, treated with anti nausea and antibiotics for an unknown gasteral intestinal issue. Following this episode, she started constantly licking her paws and started to develop ear issues as well as a change in her demeanor with non family members.

    This last time she was on Vanectyl-P for an unknown lump she had on her belly and her ear issues, they also said at the time that she wouldn’t need the benedryl as the Vanectyl P would act similarily for the vaccines (which she received 10 days after starting the Vanectyl P, May 2012 Rabies tri annual + Bordatell nasal) This time the reaction to the vaccines started within 12 hours, she vomitted a couple of times an hour for about 5 hours and then the diarrhea started the last few incidents of vomitting and the diarrhea were red tinged – of course this was happening from 11 pm to 5 am so I wasnt 100% keeping track of timing.

    I finally brought her in to an emergency hospital at 5am not wanting to wait any longer. the vet there told me he had never seen a reaction like this to the vaccine and insisted that it was something else, giardia or some other parasite. He wanted to admit her to ICU so they could monitor her run a battery of tests and charge me up to $3000, playing on my lack of sleep and telling me that he had seen otherwise healthy dogs die of similar reactions within 4 hours …

    I refused his treatment suggestions but did let him do a stool sample and administer an anti nausea injection as well as rehydrating her with IV fluids, assuring him I would have her with me constantly, she is normally not happy at the vet and I didn’t want to increase her anxiety with the hospital setting without a family member with her. Naturally her stool sample was negative for the number of things that he told me were likely the cause instead of my insisting that it was the rabies shot.

    I brought her with me to a soccer tournament she was very dozy but ended up drinking a bottle of pedialyte throughout the next 12 hours and ate a bowl of rice and within 36 hours was almost back to herself. her first stools werr still extra soft but not considered diarrhea. I will certainly not allow her to have another rabies vaccine, with the quickened onset of progressing symptoms she might not survive another vaccine.

    My question is now that she has had these vaccines and reactions, is there any way of reversing the OCD habit of paw licking, grouchiness and cronic ear issues?

  14. Jan Says:

    Sandy, why is was your dog repeatedly vaccinated? First, adult dogs rarely need “boosters” for the important viruses (according to experts). And two, it’s dangerous to vaccinate a dog with a history of reactions. You do a titer test instead. Find another vet who is current on vaccination recommendations. And please read https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2008/10/22/titer-test/ and https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2009/04/22/no-unnecessary-dog-shots/

    Re treating your dog, read the last portion of https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2010/12/02/what-to-do-when-your-dog-has-a-vaccine-reaction/ Your dog needs a vet trained in homeopathy, not just for the OCD but for whatever else the vaccines did. You might contact Dr. Loops. http://www.charlesloopsdvm.com He’s an expert in the field.

    Then find a better vet. https://www.dogs4dogs.com/vets

  15. Ann Says:

    I obtained a well-bred 9 week-old GSD puppy from a breeder. She received her first MLV DHPP vaccine at 9 weeks, then three weeks later her second DHPP, Bordatella, and Lyme vaccines. She was healthy and happy with no health issues. About 8 days later with no warning she suffered three grand mal seizures over a 12 hour period and developed pneumonia. She had her last seizure two hours AFTER seizure meds were given. Based on her critical condition, I had her euthanized. Tests were normal except for ammonia levels just above normal. No other symptoms. Tests for distemper were negative. I just learned from the breeder than another of the pups in the litter sold to a new owner is in the hospital with exactly the same problem. The breeder advised no known health hx with the dogs bred, and no problems so far with the other remaining four pups from the litter that the breeder still has. Any thoughts? Could this be vaccinosis with only 2 of the 6 pups reacting? The only vaccines in common are those the breeder administered at 9 weeks herself. Can she submit her vaccine batch to be tested for any problems with it?

  16. Ann Says:

    A little more – the necropsy lab results are back. Only finding was severe pneumonia. Lab felt seizures could be secondary to the pnuemonia (from lack of O2 to the brain). Thymus was normal so immune problems not likely per them. They could not determine the cause of the pneumonia and are surprised at the rapid and severe onset of the pneumonia without preceding visible symptoms. HELP!

  17. Jan Says:

    Hi Ann. I’m not an expert in these things, but if I were you, I’d get all the information on the vaccine: brand name, product name, lot #, serial #, expiration date, etc. and call the manufacturer. You should also call or write the USDA, although in theory the drug maker has to report the reaction. This should help you find contact into: http://truth4pets.org/reporting-reactions/ They should tell you if any other reactions have been reported, although underreporting is common. Make sure the other person with the sick dog does the same. They may ask you to send in the vaccine for testing.

    Good for you for following up on all this. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    If you have a chance please sign our petition telling the veterinary community we need to be fully informed before vaccination that these horrible things can happen. http://www.change.org/petitions/veterinarians-fully-inform-us-before-vaccinating-our-dogs-and-cats

  18. robin jones-messina Says:

    I had a Mini eskimo DOB 1/1/2003 recieve a 3 year rabies booster vacination 0n 7/27/2012. The following week I noticed behavioral changes …aggression and resistance to directives. He also appeared to be experiencing pain and refused to go up the stairs unless forced, he would snap and bite at me.

    This was a very mild, happy loving dog prior to this. He also appeared to be losing bladder control, and painful hips (losing coordination) this occurred the week of August 20,2012. I took Teddy to the Vet who xrayed him and found he had arthritis in his hips and a slipped disc. He was given pain meds.

    He appeared to be losing more coordination, inc aggression and diminished eyesight. I took Teddy back to the vet who said it appeared to be a brain problem and stated we could take him for an mri but she felt it was a brain tumor. She gave him prednisone and a anibiotic shot.

    Teddys condition deteriorated further in that his right eye pulled to the right and was surrounded with blood,he paced and paced the floor, seizures began getting increasingly worse…we then added phenobarbital and Teddys condition immediately became grave…he no longer would walk, could barely lift his head…phenobarb was stopped and he bounced back and I held him up and he would walk I took him outside anad he wandered around as if he didnt know where he was going , like blindly wandering…the spark and joy he once had was replaced with blank stares and what appeared to be brain damage….it was the last time Teddy wandered the yard he loved…he began to walk into everything, get stuck in corners or furniture and not capable of getting out….

    I had to bath him every morning due to his soiling himself and feeding him with a spoon as he could not coordinate eating from a bowl and giving him water every couple hours a day….I will say that right up to when i took him to the Vet to be put down…he responded to my voice and his name. He would bite at innate objects thinking it may be food?

    Today I was came across the documentaion indicating he recieved the rabies shot approx 9 days prior to the onset of this horrible illness. I googled rabies adverse reactions and arrived at this sight….I am heartbroken ….please tell me …did the rabies vaccination cause this horrible reaction??

  19. Jan Says:

    Robin, your story is heartbreaking, and familiar. The lack of coordination and aggression are common reactions to the rabies vaccines. If your vet doesn’t recognize these reactions, you might want to read this: https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2011/12/17/why-vets-dont-recognize-vaccine-reactions/ We also have a petition.

    And find another vet.

    Would you consider letting me post your story at http://www.truth4pets.org/tell-your-story ? At least, something might come of this tragedy. You might also tell your story on the Facebook page: Pet Vaccine Reactions.

    I’ve recently posted a video on vaccine reactions and an article on the same subject. Please help us spread the word.

    I wish I could do more. I just lost my own dog to a vaccine reaction.

  20. Interesting read about vaccination Says:

    […] read about vaccination Why Veterinarians Don't Recognize Vaccine Reactions | Truth4Dogs Someone shared this on FB. It's worth a read! Jen and ~ Hudler, Maddy, Grace, Jack, Jed and […]

  21. Lori Says:

    My 5 yr old healthy pug was vaccinated for bordatella yesterday and about five hours after, he began coughing. He’s lethargic, which I expected, but the vet says it’s unrelated to the shot as a reaction to this vaccine would take about a week. Our dog went to the groomer about three weeks ago, but other than that, he’s been home. Any idea if the cough could be a reaction to the shot? He’s never had this reaction to vaccines before.

  22. char Says:

    Where I live is a small enough place that people know each other and different vets at different clinics know each other. Let’s see how my puppy progresses before I post my story. Right now, I am in contact with a vet that believes in titering and does not like Lepro. Lepro was in my puppy’s shot shot last week. This vet questions a seizure cluster (vs. one seizure) and thinks there is a strong possibility that there is an underlying issue that the vaccines might have triggered (typical second round of puppy vacs with Lepro included–I would have to pull the paperwork to name it–I think it was 5 in 1). My puppy was checked for a liver shunt (negative) and had a blood panel (normal). One vet would like to do an MRI on the head but anything that would be diagnosed has a bad prognosis. The price is steep on an MRI. Right now, puppy is on Keppra and doing well.

  23. mary sharp Says:

    My name is Mary, and I am writing in regards to a fatal reaction to a rabies vaccine given at the hands of a vet. He was a 12 pounds bald Chinese crested, what are my next steps to assure that my dog’s death will not be in vain. Any assistance you can give me regarding this situation will be greatly appreciated.. Please e-mail me at the address above. Thank you, many blessings, Raven and Mary

  24. Jan Says:

    Hi Mary. I’m so very sorry about your loss. Here’s where to start: http://truth4pets.org/reporting-reactions/ If you suspect your vet did something wrong, report him/her to your state board.

    If you can, you might also make a donation, even a small one, in your dog’s memory to the Rabies Challenge Fund nonprofit study of the rabies vaccine. http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/

    Perhaps you’d like to tell your story at http://truth4pets.org/tell-your-story/

    None of this will help you get your beloved dog back, but you can make a difference.


  25. Marie Klymkiw Says:

    Our poor Precious died in 1/27/13. We took her for her Bortadella shot in early October. She was perfectly healthy up until then. About 2 to 3 weeks after getting the vaccine she developed some light pink spots on the front of her legs. The vet said it was an allergy. We noticed she was shaking her head, and after checking her ears we noticed she had an ear infection in one ear, and a lump in her other ear. We took her in and the vet confirmed an ear infection, and thought the lump in her ear was a tumor. Unfortunately, she was right. That was early November. It kept bothering me how quickly she got cancer. I truly feel it was the bortadella vaccine. I wish I would have educated myself about dog vaccines. Now it’s too late. Why the vet insisted on giving her this vaccine, I’ll never know. My only guess was for the money-and my Precious is gone.

  26. Jan Says:

    Marie, I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Were you required by a boarder or groomer to give the vaccine? If not, your vet should never have given it. It is to be used before boarding only. Even then, it is not very effective. Here’s a good article. http://truth4pets.org/2012/07/kennel-cough-vaccine/ Did he/she get the nasal vaccine (recommended) or the shot? Sometimes the nasal vaccine is accidentally injected. It’s is very dangerous. Find out what was used.

    Make sure you report your dog’s death to the manufacturer and USDA. That’s the only way things change. If you suspect your vet did something wrong, report him/her to your state board. http://truth4pets.org/reporting-reactions/

    Were other vaccines given? If so, why do you suspect the bordetella?

    Perhaps you’d like to tell your story at http://truth4pets.org/tell-your-story/

    None of this will help you get your beloved dog back, but you can make a difference.

  27. Follow-up to Quincy's illness - vaccine maker offering to give us money. Thoughts? - Page 4 - Maltese Dogs Forum : Spoiled Maltese Forums Says:

    […] is interesting. Why Veterinarians Don't Recognize Vaccine Reactions | Truth4Dogs […]

  28. Laura Wittrock Says:

    My dog daughter, Harlequin, was diagnosed in January 2012 with Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia. She was given a course of Prednisone and seemed to recover. Her platelet counts rebounded and for a year were normal. The vet did not mention that the excessive amount of vaccines that she had been previously given could have caused this. I have been taking her to a national vet clinic that is closely tied to a national pet store. (The vaccines are part of their wellness plan. They make you feel that to not give them would be to not be a good pet parent).The vet did say that she should not have any unneccessary vaccines. In January 2013 she was given a rabies vaccine as is required by law. On July 2, 2013 she had a CBC prior to teeth cleaning. Her platelet count was 26,000. The IMT has returned. No mention was made that this could have been a result of the Rabies vaccine. She is back on Predisone and we are waiting to see if the platelet count comes up. I found this website while researching IMT. I am beyond angry that my beautiful baby is suffering because I took her to the vet in an effort to keep her well. What a racket! They make them sick and charge you for it and then charge you to make them better.

  29. Jan Says:

    Laura, join the club of people who did what they thought was the best for their canine kids and lived to regret it. My beloved Chiclet died from IMT. And my Jiggy from immune-mediated liver disease after a rabies vaccine.

    What breed was Harlequin, and old big was she? I may have more information of interest.

    In the meantime, I hope you’ll find a holistic vet to help undo some of the damage. http://www.truth4pets.org/vets

    I wish you and Harlequin the best.


  30. Steven Fraser Says:

    Having read this I’m not sure if this relates to yearly vaccines that r advised. We don’t have rabbies in uk but is this included in the yearly booster?
    Help would be appreciated

  31. Jan Says:

    Steven, no good vet still does yearly vaccines. Most of the vaccines that last a year or less are unnecessary. The necessary vaccines, like parvovirus and distemper, last for many years. Please read this: http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/ For more info about the UK, check out http://www.canine-health-concern.org.uk/

  32. Tom Mulhall Says:

    Our hearts are broken as we were told Monday our 3 year old shelter lab/shep mix has stage 4 lymphoma. About 1 month after her we assumed first rabies vaccine on her hip she developed an ulcer. We took her to the vet and were told it was a lick sore and had nothing to do with the rabies shot. As our previous dog got lick sores from time to time, we believed them.

    Everytime we saw the vet we said we were worried about the vaccine reaction. Because my background was a chemist, I for forced them to file for a rabies exemption in California.

    Our dog is a resort dog and we joke she is the Vice-President of guest relations. She is loved by thousands of guests.

    We were away on vacation for 1 week, when we got back on Fri 9/27 her lymph nodes were really swollen. We took her to the vet Sat 9/28 and they visually confirmed lymph cancer and it has spread to the retinas, and Monday we were told it’s stage 4 and she has only 2-4 weeks left. She was already starting cancer anorexia.

    We drove 1 hour to a holistic vet who gave her B-12, prednisone, and something to improve appetite. She started eating just meat again.

    The holistic vet says visually it looks like she has a mast cell tumor at the injection site that was allowed to spread. I am so angry and hurt that we kept telling our vet about this and we’re told it was nothing. Even Fri when we took her in we were told it was still nothing but a lick sore.

    Thank you for letting me vent.

  33. Jan Says:

    Tom, I am so sorry for what has happened to your dog. And to you and your family.

    I know that now is not the time, but I hope when you’re up to it you’ll take some action to keep this from happening to someone else.

    Pardon me for being blunt, but having a necropsy done on your dog after death can prove the cause. Many tumors show aluminum, a tip off to vaccine damage. And politely ask for your dog’s file. Then you can file a complaint against your vet with the state veterinary board and complain to the vaccine manufacturer. They should, and may, pay all your vet bills. They may even pay for the biopsies. Vets pretend that only cats have injection-site tumors but many sad people know it’s not true. I know one woman who lost two dogs to such tumors.

    There’s lots of information about reporting at http://truth4pets.org/reporting-reactions/ If I were you, I’d go to Small Claims court and file a suit. Your 3 yr old dog shouldn’t be in this position. You should get all your vet fees back and the “fair value” of your dog, which of course not the real value. Only when people start doing this will it stop.

  34. Lesley Batt Says:

    In December 2013 to my King Charles Caviler to the vets for yearly booster. He was given a new 2 dosage Nobivac L4 he started having severe diarrhea took him back to the vets in January 2014 commented on the situation they advised nothing is wrong administered second dosage and still had problems when i returned in the beginning of February his stomach was swollen extremely bad and i got told it was a virus. The fluid in the stomach has now gone to his heart and made what was a small heart murmur into a full blown problem and have been advised he will not see the year out.Since then two other dog owners in the area seem to have had the same problem I am still battling this situation with the vets he is now on Fortekor, Prilactone and Frusemide but nothing seems to bring his stomach down he is waddling very badly and now cannot get up the stairs is there anything I can do?

  35. Jan Says:

    Lesley, please read this: https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2010/12/02/what-to-do-when-your-dog-has-a-vaccine-reaction/ You need a holistic vet. Your vet likely caused the problem and won’t likely be able to fix it.

    Re the yearly booster. Why? Adult dogs rarely need boosters. Read this and see if you still trust your vet. http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

    Be sure to contact the vaccine manufacturer. They sometimes, though rarely, will help. Good luck.

  36. madison Says:

    I am currently going through a vaccination reaction with my 9 week old chihuahua Eva.
    She had her vaccinations two days ago, they very next morning I returned from work and she had soiled herself and wasn’t very responsive.
    I bathed her and tried to take her to her water as she was struggling to stand. Eva wouldn’t drink the water and two minutes later she’s started convulsing, her first seizure.
    Bearing in mind my 9 week old Eva was lively and always responive and happy until this point.
    I immediately took her to the vets where they hooked her up to fluids, they said that her glucose levels were low and that was the reason for the seizure. They also questioned whether she had previously had issues eating to which I replied she was always eating and she was only put off her food after the injections.
    She has since suffered multiple more seizures and I’ve been adviswd today two days after her initial injections that she now has swelling on the brain and they can’t advise a prognosis at the moment.
    To say I’m distraught is an understatement! Had I been informed of the risks of dog vaccinations on small animals I would have never had them done. Had I also known that she would receive the same dose as a great dane I would have refused.
    When my children have vaccinations they always tell you the risks, including worst case scenario, at no point did they do this before I unknowingly allowed them to injure my dog on the pretence of protection.
    All I can do now is hope my baby Eva pulls through.

  37. Jan Says:

    Madison, I just saw your post. How’s your dog?

  38. Tammy Says:

    Luckily, I have stumbled upon this site. We recently had our 9 yr old lab/golden mix vaccinated with rabies and for lepto. The very next day, he started with diarrhea like I have never seen before. It continued, so we took a sample in and he had chlostridium something. Gave him antibiotics, it was better however not completely normal. Then almost 7 days later, he developed a huge grapefruit sized lump at the injection site. We were told to give him predisone and Benadryl. It has subsided a bit, but is still about 3/4 the size along with muscle atrophy in his right leg. He developed a hotspot type thing on his other hip as well as vomited yesterday and still has loose stools here and there. We are taking him in for a biopsy tonight and then consulting with an ortho doc. This has been about 3 weeks. His brother/littermate is still doing ok. Not sure if his came from the same lot, he was vaccinated on a different day. I feel absolutely horrible for doing this to the poor guy and I’m so afraid of what the outcome will we. 🙁

  39. Jan Says:

    Tammy, if I were going to recommend a scenario for a dog to have a bad vaccine reaction, it would be to give lepto and rabies on the same day. Your dog is clearly having a reaction. You need a vet who knows how to treat this: A holistic vet: http://www.truth4pets.org/vets Know that many of the lumps will disappear.

    It sounds like your vet is treating the reaction, not the cause. Why an orthopedic vet? This is a textbook vaccine reaction. Muscle wasting is a known reaction.

    Call the vaccine maker and report the reaction and ask for help. But find a vet who knows how to treat reactions.

  40. Sandra.giguere Says:

    I just came back from vet with my 7 month old boxer who starated with hives and diarrhea the day before her brother had to go to emergency vet the day before for vomiting and diarrhea they were both given da2pl4+pRvo the week before stool sample negative they said female must have been stung I was always with her did not see anything happen both dogs on antibiotics and vet insisting it isn’t the vaccine last time they had the shot female was spayed and was ill with vomiting a week or so later she was vomiting and diarrhea told it was an infection so with nothing in dogs stool to indicate sickness I still think it is the vaccine they are from the same litter

  41. Jan Says:

    Sandra, clearly your vet is either uninformed or in denial. Please read this: https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2010/12/02/what-to-do-when-your-dog-has-a-vaccine-reaction/ And get a new vet.

  42. Gail Says:

    I’m always nervous to vaccinate my pets and so far I think I’ve been lucky with my dogs having no problems that I know of . Should we not vaccinate at all and should we be seeing a holistic vet instead of a regular vet. I took a homeless kitten home once and took him for his shots. That night his lungs filled with fluid so I rushed to an emergency vet and was told it was a reaction to the shot earlier in the day and that I had to put him down. Last Christmas I bought the most beautiful ragdoll kitten and a few weeks after her first shots she developed pneumonia and the next evening she had to be put down because there was no room left to breathe air. I was devastated and told the vet I needed to know why this happened to her . I asked if it could have happened because of the shots and she said no. She sent parts of the lungs to a pathologist and they said parts of her lung tissue had died and there must have been an underlying virus but she was so totally perfect and healthy until this happened.

  43. Jan Says:

    You might read this about vaccinating. http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

  44. Janice Says:

    Hi Jan
    We have a delightful 16 week old Malshi. At 10 weeks he had his combo Distemper and Parvo vaccination. At 14 weeks he returned to the vet for his 2nd Distemper/Parvo plus his rabies. At the time we were not aware that he should not be given multiple shots at the same time. Within 10 minutes of the rabies shot he developed a reaction. His head swelled and he became very itchy. The vet gave him Benadryl, then epinaphren and a steroid. He is thankfully fine now but I have two questions. Has this event caused him to develop a sensitivity and he will always have a reaction now or if properly administered the next time, perhaps by a homeopathic vet, will he be ok?
    Secondly, we travel back and forth between Can and the US. I have spoken to the Can gov’t and have a plan for travelling but how do we get a letter from the US gov’t to allow him to enter without the shot? Thanks!

  45. Jan Says:

    Janice, I’m not a vet but here’s what I’ve been told. If your vet wants to do another parvo/distemper, do a titer test first to see if it’s necessary. Wait three weeks after the last shot to do it. http://truth4pets.org/2012/06/titer-testing/ If you have to vaccinate, go to a holistic vet. And use another brand of vaccine. You’ll need your dog’s records.

    Rabies is more problematic because it’s required by law. It will be due in a year. Use another brand and make sure it’s thimerosol free. https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2010/09/23/rabies-vaccination-12-ways-to-vaccinate-more-safely/

    Here’s another article to read before you vaccinate again. http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

  46. Candace Says:

    My 5 month old PB European Boxer died with a
    Cpl hours from anaphylaxis From a combo
    Of Distemper / Parvo / Bort vaccination.
    Extremely traumatic for myself my 2 toddler who where with us at the vet and also my Dr. At the vet is very distraught.
    Boehringer paid for necropsy and pathology my Vet is on their ass to compensate every expense & the cost we spent on our puppy we planned for 2 years to add to our family and other boxers.
    It was seriously fucked up, took my perfectly healthy puppy from playing at home with the kids to a “routine” vaccine and left without him no good byes , I feel horrible for my kids and my baby Maui. And reaction was not on the list of diagnosis until tissue and organs were tested. They assumed he ate rat poison, so I went home and combed thru my whole yard and house even examining the dogs Poo for any poisoning signs. They had me running in circles I didn’t sleep for 2 days. From 1-4am I was slapped with a 5500 vet bill plus examination x rays blood test and vitamin k on my other boxers just incase.$1000
    Honestly I think shit like this , vets should cover all costs. It happened there so u wave the bill , I shouldn’t be paying you to save my dog , oh I had to transport him myself to the emergency 30min away to get him in to a oxygen chamber,, his organs couldn’t stop bleeding . Within 1-2min of vaccination he was on his death bed.
    Animal care law and medicine need to fuckin change .

  47. Jan Says:

    Candace, I’m sorry for your loss. Also confused. Are you saying your dog received Bordetella? That’s not usually part of a combo. Anyway, if you have other dogs, you might want to read this before vaccinating: http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

    I would keep after the drug maker for reimbursement. Vets are notoriously lax about following up. Call the drug maker and make a fuss.

    Why aren’t vets financially responsible? Thank Congress. Also, the public doesn’t insist on it. I hope you will

Leave a Comment